Wake Up and Smell The Cinnamon!

Damn, that nasty alarm went off again. I don’t like Tuesday. It’s the second Monday. My puppy isn’t sleeping near me anymore to wake me up with a sloppy kiss. Not a good start; but wait! I have a yum breakfast waiting for me in my fridge 😀

Clearly, I’m not a morning person. I ONLY wake up on time because I know it’s a good habit and it’s good to be disciplined, etc.. Oh and it makes my parents happy. I have to kick myself out of bed every single day. The one thing I look forward to every morning is a delicious breakfast. In an ideal world this means means fluffy pancakes drizzled with honey, waffles with whipped cream and strawberries.. what it also means is BIG calories (makes me want to go back to sleep already..). So, I’ve been turning to bran or wheat cereal with a  slice of wheat bread, or pulses cooked at home with a slice of bread. This routine has become so terribly redundant that the sight of these foods now makes me nauseous. However, I simply cannot function without a good, fulfilling breakfast so I decided to experiment a little last night.

A mason jar, uncooked oats, LOTS OF CINNAMON with strawberries and bananas. Voila – I found my breakfast calling!

This recipe is hassle-free, super easy, quick, very healthy and above all, DELISH. There’s not one ingredient that isn’t good for you.

Oats – lower cholesterol, weight management, high fibre content

Cinnamon – blood sugar control, weight management, anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial

Milk – Duh

Fruits – filled with nutrients, fibre and good sugars

This recipe serves one.

You will need:

1/4 cup uncooked oats (I use the usual, Quaker)
1/2 cup cold milk (skimmed)
Cinnamon powder (as much as you like, I used 2 tbsp)
3 medium sized strawberries, chopped
1 small, ripe banana, sliced

1. Before you get to bed, grab hold of a mason jar (or frankly, any other will do. Mason jars are just purrrrrty 🙂 ) and add all of the above ingredients together.
2. Mix gently with a spoon and shut the lid tight.
3. Refrigerate overnight and the next morning you will have a great breakfast waiting for you! You can even have it on the go if you’re running late 🙂

That’s literally all you have to do. A brilliant breakfast ready for you in under 5 minutes.

Here are some other breakfast ideas I found online if you’re in the mood to experiment – http://greatist.com/health/healthy-fast-breakfast-recipes

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Image courtesy: Pintrest.com

I apologise, I haven’t been able to do a shoot, hence the image has been borrowed from Pintrest.

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Traditional Greek Salad Recipe

Greek salad is extremely famous within Greece, internationally as well and it’s no wonder why. Filled with fresh ingredients, it’s healthy, extremely light on your stomach and is a great alternative to eating an entire meal. It is also known as ‘horiatiki’ meaning ‘village’ in Greek, because of its traditional, rustic nature. Originally, the salad only contains cucumber, tomato, onion, olives, olive oil, fresh herbs and feta. It does however, vary slightly, depending on where you are eating it. For example, in Santorini, capers are used instead of olives. In Crete, it is served with dakos, i.e. tomato and feta piled onto a barley rusk, previously soaked in water and oil. In some other places, local cheese or soft white cheese is substituted for feta.

Even though the salad is prepared differently in different countries, it does NOT contain any leafy greens and/or red bell peppers. Feta is served as a whole block, not crumbled and is served in a shallow dish, not a deep one. Only fresh, ripe ingredients are used.

This recipe makes 1 medium bowl, serving 1 person.

Ingredients:
1 cucumber
2 large tomatoes or 8-10 cherry tomatoes
1 small onion
7-8 kalamata olives**
1 slab of feta (around 100 gm)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
Fresh herbs*
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
Salt to taste
You may also add thinly sliced green bell peppers.

*I picked up traditional herbs from a local supermarket in Santorini for the salad but you may use oregano.
**I love olives so my recipe calls for these many. You may change this depending on your preferences. Regular black olives can also be used.

Method:
1. Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and oregano in a bowl and set aside***.
2. Cut the cucumber in slightly thick rounds. Do not peel it.
3. Cut the tomatoes in wedges, not in cubes. If you are using cherry tomatoes, cut them in half.
4. Cut the onions in wedges.
5. Combine the cucumber, tomatoes and onions in a shallow dish. Add the olives.
6. Drizzle the olive oil mix over the ingredients and top it up with the slab of feta. You can garnish the feta with some herbs.

***You may add a dash of red wine vinegar to this mix.
I do not usually measure the oil; I pour just enough to coat the salad.
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The feta is served as a whole which you can then crumble.
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Do write in and let me know your thoughts. Enjoy!

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Preparing your body before a vacation – Part II

Here are a few of my tips that will help you get through the process of eating clean and working out, to help you achieve your desired results faster.

Quick tips:

1. Put up a picture of the kind of body you idealise on your mirror and visualise yourself getting there.

2. Lock up all the sugar, cookies, and processed foods in a cabinet and ask someone in your family to keep the keys with them.

3. Lock up your liquor cabinet as well. Cocktails and beer are a strict NO.

4. Make a chart – one with your meals for the day and their timing. Carry it with you everywhere. If you really need help sticking to your diet, make it your laptop or mobile phone wallpaper. That way you will never forget.

5. Make one more chart – with your exercise schedule and STICK TO IT. If you know you will be working late the next day, wake up 30 minutes early and pack in your workout. Do 25 squats every time you use the loo. Find a way to get some movement. Whatever you do, don’t skip your workout.

Here are the challenges I took up this month. MUST BE DONE!

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Preparing your body before a vacation – Part I

Flight tickets – √

Hotels – √

Visa – √

Summer dresses – √

Vacation body – Can I finally tick this off my list as well? I say YES! √

It’s almost September and my much-deserved vacation is here! I’m off to Greece with cousins and friends, my first trip without my parents and I think I may be a little too excited. Everything has been planned to the T (a big shout out here to my travel agent, Euphoric Traveler what a brilliant job!) since the last 6 months and it’s finally time to go!

The one thing I’m always nervous about when going on vacation is putting on weight. I don’t believe in controlling your diet when you’re exploring new places, and learning about new cultures, because a great way to understand it is also through its food. You know you’re going to have to watch your weight when it’s all over so you may as well not skip those gorgeous Baklavas or that decadent tiramisu.It can also be a little hard getting in a workout whilst traveling (but that really just depends on how dedicated you are to your body) therefore; it’s good to knock off little weight before you take off. This way you have a slight margin and don’t have to feel guilty about eating an extra macaroon. Sounds like a plan? I think so!

I decided to start preparing my body a month in advance and found the perfect plan for myself – to lose 1.5 kilos and tone up. Here are 6 general things that will work for anybody that’s committed.

1. Know your body

This is of utmost importance. Understand your body type. Know what works for you and what doesn’t. A lot of us make the mistake of blindly following what we read on the Internet or what our favourite celebrities are doing to stay in shape, etc. This is a big NO. Just because a particular diet regime worked for your friend who lost 7 kilos in 2 months, does not mean that it will work for you. If in fact it doesn’t work for you, there’s a chance you will find yourself putting on weight, or even worse, not getting enough nutrition.When exercising, LISTEN to your body. Nobody ever benefitted from over doing a workout, especially if you aren’t used to exercising regularly. You will end up injuring yourself and you certainly do not want anything jeopardising your travels.

2. Pen down your plan

A lot of my friends think I’m OCD but when did planning ever hurt anyone? Writing down your goals will ensure that you remain thoroughly focused and committed to your end goal.

3. Stay off that scale

Check your weight and measure yourself once before you begin your plan, once after 15 days and then on the last day. If you weigh yourself at more frequent intervals and find that you have put on a couple of grams or haven’t lost any, you WILL panic. Paranoia will only derail you from your path. There’s a good chance you that you will eat less or work out a little more, neither of which will be of any help. Trust me, I learnt this lesson the hard way.

4. Eat right

Being healthy and eating clean is a way of life. If you try this just for one month, you will automatically find yourself reaching out to a banana or an apple instead of a giant cookie every time you crave something sweet.Have a heavy breakfast and then break up your meals – eat a little something every two hours. Forming this habit will ensure that even on vacation, you will not go overboard. The first couple of days maybe hard on you but once you get into the routine, you will find your body asking for food at well timed intervals.

5. Get moving

Getting into a daily routine of exercising is the best thing you could possibly gift yourself. Even if you’re not a gym enthusiast, it’s not too hard to squeeze in a good workout at home. I stumbled upon a YouTube channel called POPSUGAR Fitness that has some awesome home videos. You want to check them out! Here are a few of my favourites.

10-Minute Bikini Workout | Legs & Butt | Class FitSugar

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NlqHSA1A7k4

Victoria’s Secret Model Workout: 10-Minute Fat-Blasting

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWEdJRRndkQ

Bye-Bye Cottage Cheese Thighs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zT50JEqjRN8&list=PL7E70CF0C6EE6813B

40 Minute Full Body Workout (this one had me burning up in 12 minutes)

6. Finally, be kind to yourself

Enjoy the process of watching your body transform. Don’t beat yourself up if you cheated a little bit on your diet. There’s always tomorrow 🙂 And always remember to wear a smile and be happy; when you’re happy it shows.

Bon Voyage!